tangle of knots

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

Cady has a Talent for baking cakes and making just the right one for a specific person.  Miss Mallory’s Talent is matching children with the perfect home, but she hasn’t been able to find the right fit for Cady for years.  Will has a Talent for hiding, passing through walls and disappearing along with his pet ferret.  Zach has a Talent for spitting, something just right for a troublemaker.  Marigold is desperately searching for her Talent, trying all sorts of things with no luck.  Then there is the mysterious man who has a Talent for knots who seems to appear whenever he is needed most.  There is even a man who steals Talents and keeps them in jars, as he frantically searches suitcases for a slip of paper he lost over 50 years ago.  The stories of all of these characters are just a tangle at first, but slowly the stories come together into one gorgeously designed knot of a tale.

Graff has created a world like ours but with more than a touch of magic infused into it.  While most of the characters have Talents, there are some who don’t have any.  There are others who only discover their talent late in life like Marigold.  But in this book it is not the magical bits that make it special, instead it is the intricate storytelling, the puzzle.  Readers who want a straightforward book should not look here.  This is a book that hints, it rambles, it invites you in for cake and adventure, then wanders a bit more.  But the wandering is rather the point, the cake is particularly important, and one wouldn’t want to miss a ramble.

Give this one to the dreamers, the wanderers, and those who want a hint of magic, sweetness and frosting with their stories.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from Philomel.